The Wayfarer's Creed

A Comment on Gendered Athletics

Posted on: 30 September 2009

In my Sex and Gender class, someone brought up the recent incident in South Africa over an intersex runner competing in the women’s competitions.  One of my classmates then basically said that there is no place for the intersexed in athletics.  I beg to differ, and this is how I responded.  Any additional comments?

On the surface this does seem to be an unsolveable problem.  But the only thing that this means is that we need to figure out a new way to hold athletic competition.  Just because you don’t fit into society’s acceptable sexes doesn’t mean that you are not capable in athletics.  So let’s queeer our thought and come up with a solution.  In the discussions about women in the military, we see a suggestion that sex not put up as a barrier, due to the fact that there is a general physical “advantage” by the males of our species.  I’d like to suggest that the same thought should be applied here.  Let all people regardless of their sex (female, male, or other) compete against each other.  Some will say, but then the women have no way to win.  So then establish a tiered system based on ability, not on sex.  We already have distinctions between ability and disability, ie. Special Olympics. Why not expand the tiers throughout the system, so that people such as Ms. Semanya can continue to do what she loves.

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